Baghdadi dead: Kerala ISIS recruits would look to return and strike says IB
New Delhi, Oct 28: The death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may be good news. However, there also signals danger and there could be revenge strikes, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has warned.
Take for instance the Kerala module of the ISIS. There are several who have left the country over the past couple of years. The danger is letting them return says an IB official to OneIndia.
Wilayah of Hind:
It may also be recalled that the Islamic State recently announced its India outfit and called it the Wilayah of Hind. While the ISIS did not elaborate on the group's geographical remit, Indian IB officials say that they will continue to target states in the South and also Jammu and Kashmir. In Kerala, Tamil Nadu, they have already got much of the traction and in the Valley, they would look to fill in a vacuum after the already existing groups have suffered such heavy losses.
The danger with returnees:
In several attacks that were carried out across the world, it was noticed that the ones behind it were the ones who returned from the mainland of Syria and Iraq. This was very evident in the Paris attack.
This becomes important in the backdrop of some persons from Kerala wanting to return. Intelligence agencies too have suggested that many who had left the state to join the outfit, would look to return.
The 21 persons who left Kerala for Afghanistan are the ones to keep a close watch on. There are unconfirmed reports that one or two may have died in the bombings, while the others continue to remain there.
Afghanistan is already crowded and there is hardly any scope for the ISIS.
A concern in Kerala:
V Balachandran, former officer with the Research and Analysis Wing tells OneIndia that he cannot understand why so many from Kerala are leaving to join the Islamic State, when people across the world are returning.
He adds that when it comes to Kerala, the key concern remains radicalisation and Wahhabism.
Allowing Wahhabism is a danger to our integrity. We should not let pockets of our country be dominated by such radical thoughts.
NIA officials probing the Kerala ISIS case say that the prime concern is that all those who have left for the ISIS in Afghanistan are educated. The officer says that a person by the name Shihas had played a major role in building up the module. He had managed to rope in several persons including one Nashidhul, who was initially opposed to the ideology of the ISIS.
Intelligence Bureau officials say that the bigger problem is with those who are returning. The agencies are keeping a close watch on those persons returning from the UAE, Turkey and Syria. Most of these persons had left Kerala for Afghanistan and then landed in Syria or Turkey.
The intention of leaving the country was not to continue fighting in Afghanistan or Syria. It was largely with an intent of undergoing training and then returning to India, with an intention of carrying out attacks, brainwashing locals and also setting up modules, the officer also notes.
Officials also add that the ISIS modus operandi is in the procedure of completing a full cycle. It was at first thought that they were recruiting from Kerala so that they could be used in the fight at Afghanistan. However, the coordination with other agencies has suggested that many who had joined the ISIS in Afghanistan had gradually moved out of there for Syria or Turkey. Now these persons are gradually making their return to Kerala and this is worrisome, the official also explained.
A new challenge:
The IB terms such persons as silent returnees of the ISIS. This is a new challenge for us and the vigil is high, the IB officer says. There are various routes that these recruits have been using. Those coming into India from Afghanistan had often entered into Nepal before making their entry. In these cases, the recruits are most likely to use the land route to avoid scrutiny. Once in India, it becomes easier for them to travel by road and reach their destination in Kerala.